Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Raye Wagner!
Raye Wagner grew up in an urban fantasy believing she was related to the goddess of literature. As the second of eight, she was surrounded by monsters, demons, and her sometimes mortal parents. She read heaps of fantasy while locked away in the upstairs room of the family cottage.
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus.
One sunny afternoon, Apollo revealed to Raye the history of his ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx. Stories have haunted Raye ever since. She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.
Curse of the Sphinx, a YA urban mythology, is her first novel. Demigods and Monsters, the next book in the Sphinx series, will be released April 2016.
I love reading the bios of authors. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? No. But when I was 16 I wrote in my journal that someday I wanted to write a book. I believe if you write it down, eventually it will come true. More than 20 years later, I started working on my first novel.
Why did you choose to write young adult fiction? My story came to me, so I like to say it picked me, and not the other way around. That being said, I am an avid reader, and YA fiction is my favorite pick, so that may have something to do with it.
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? I just finished writing a 10k short story about the Narcos (drug traffickers) in Mexico. It is a much darker piece than my other fare, and challenged me a lot. I discovered that I like light, fluffy, and HEAs much better.
What are you currently working on? A screenplay a friend of mine asked me to write as well as book 3 in the Sphinx series. [Wow! A screenplay… Sounds exciting!]
What motivated the plot of the screenplay? The screenplay is a collaborative idea. A good friend asked if I would write a story based around an apocalypse initiated by a specific premise. Another challenge that took several weeks to sort out. Now, I love the story!
What was the hardest story for you to write? Narcos. Even though it is a short story, there is no levity to it, and because it is based on real events it made my heart hurt every time I sat in front of my computer.
What process do you use to plan your novels? Ugh. I’m still working on a process. I do a general outline, knowing where I need to end up, and then try and make sure I hit several plot points along the way for structure. I’m hoping that I’ll eventually get better at outlining because I’ve heard it can really help the process go more quickly. But I’m not there yet.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? My favorite character to write has been Xan from Demigods and Monsters. He is far from perfect, and he knows it, but somewhere along the way he’s also made peace with it. It’s something I envy.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? Yes. Probably all of them have something of me, although I don’t always see it. A couple of friends of mine were discussing my characters once and pointed out who had what personality traits from me: Hope- standoffish and shy, Priska-confident in her knowledge, and Leto- anxious.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Write. Even if I have to delete it all later, eventually writing will make the words flow again.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Middle grade. I think youth already sees magic, and I’d like to make sure they have stories that feed that. You can never start them too young!
Which authors inspire you? All of them. New authors have enthusiasm that some of the more established authors have lost, but then the established authors have wisdom we newer authors lack. Every time I chat with an author I come away with a richer perspective on writing, marketing, and what it means to be an author.
What novel would you read multiple times? Oh, I have lots of favorites. I’ve read the first three The Mortal Instruments several times, as well as Exodus, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Scourge, and the Runes series, and Relentless. I also like the Judgement of the Six series.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? I’m terrible at these kinds of questions. If I met someone famous, I’d be so tongue-tied I’d make an idiot of myself, and I’m not sure I’d want to do that. However, I would like to ask Florence Nightingale if she knew what she was doing would have such an impact, and how she managed her fear. I’d also like to know if she had regrets.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? Cats
What is your favorite color? Ocean blue
When Raye isn’t writing, she’s a part-time nurse practitioner and a full-time mom… I hope my children will grow up and say I was a mom full-time because that is the most important.
Catch up with Raye online at:
It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, Raye! I’m adding your books to my TBR [it groans].
Join me next week as we feature author Jo Michaels!